Samsung Galaxy Watch vs. Fossil Gen 5: Which should you buy?

fossil gen 5
fossil gen 5 (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Galaxy Watch

Prefer a more traditional watch with a rotating bezel and all? The Samsung Galaxy Watch was made for you. It comes in two large sizes with a colorful screen, big battery, and impressive health/fitness tracking perks. It's gigantic, though, which may be a turn off for those who need something lightweight for their workouts.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Traditional and timeless

LTE capability
Two size options
Rotating bezel
Good battery life
A bit rugged for some wrists
Notification support could be better

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

Fossil gen 5 Carlyle

If you like to stay up to date with your smartwatch selection, you might prefer a newer device like the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle. You can have it all with the Carlyle, too. It doesn't have LTE but still comes with plenty of features, like Google Assistant, music storage, Google Pay, and more. It's also undeniably more stylish.

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

Modern masterpiece

Attractive design
Google Assistant
Music storage
New Snapdragon Wear 3100
Short battery life
Difficult to read in sunlight

Choosing between two smartwatches depends on numerous factors. What style are you going for? What features matter the most to you? Is battery life important? How about LTE connectivity? These are some of the questions you'll want to ask yourself when you compare the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle.

If your main concern is having a fashionable smartwatch with the latest features, you may come out of this preferring the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle. However, if you've been on the hunt for an LTE smartwatch with multi-day battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Watch may win you over.

Talk about an upgrade

Fossil Gen 5

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central Pictured: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

When a successor is released, you can only hope the company heard the cries for certain upgrades. The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle checked a lot of these boxes. One of the improvements this line of smartwatches so desperately needed was with the processor, which has fixed many of the issues we had with the previous generation. The Fossil Gen 5 now runs on the new Snapdragon Wear 3100.

It gets better. This new model also has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, so you can expect much smoother performance. We should note that's double the storage that you'll get with the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Whether you use it for apps or music, it's quite the improvement.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy Watch (42 mm)Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle
Dimensions41.9 x 45.7 x 12.7 mm44 x 44 x 12 mm
Display1.2-inch AMOLED1.3-inch AMOLED
Operating systemTizen OSWear OS
SensorsAccelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, heart rate, lightAccelerometer, altimeter, ambient light, gyroscope, heart rate
NFCSamsung PayGoogle Pay
Battery life3 days1 day
Water resistance5 ATM3 ATM
Onboard GPS✔️✔️
Optional LTE✔️
Mic and speaker✔️✔️

You might've gathered that in addition to being the newer watch, the Fossil Gen 5 is also more stylish. Sure, the Galaxy Watch has a certain traditional appeal to it, but it's simply not as sleek as its competitor. The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle comes in a 44 mm high-quality stainless steel case that's accompanied by a crisp 1.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen. As lovely as the display is, it can be difficult to read when you're in direct sunlight.

The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle comes in a 44 mm high-quality stainless steel case.

The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle has both a microphone and a speaker, which makes using Google Assistant much more enjoyable. You'll have standard health/fitness tracking via Google Fit as well as built-in GPS and heart-rate monitoring. The watch is water resistant up to 30 meters, which is slightly less than the Galaxy Watch.

Unfortunately, the battery on these watches will last for a day at best, so prepare to charge your watch regularly. There are smart battery modes to keep it juiced up longer, but this will shut off certain features. It's got NFC, so you can use Google Pay and leave your wallet at home. You won't be able to take calls, but it can do just about everything else.

A more traditional approach

Samsung Galaxy Watch 42mm

Source: Android Central Pictured: Samsung Galaxy Watch (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

if your main reason for investing in a smartwatch is to have a wearable that can function without your phone, the Galaxy Watch is the better choice. It's already a hit with built-in GPS and Samsung Pay, which is similar to what you'll find on the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle. However, where it wins is the LTE capability. This allows you to stream music and take calls and texts without your phone nearby.

Not only is the Galaxy Watch waterproof, but it also carries a MIL-STD-810G durability ratiting.

The stainless steel design is available in a 42mm or a 46mm case. It's not quite as spiffy as the Fossil Gen 5, but it has its perks. You'll appreciate the overall ease of use thanks to the rotating bezel. As long as you don't mind the added bulky hardware, this is a truly traditional smartwatch. If it looks rugged, that's because it is. Not only is the Galaxy Watch waterproof, but it also carries a MIL-STD-810G durability rating.

We can't forget to mention the health/fitness tracking perks. You'll also have the built-in GPS and heart-rate monitoring on this watch. It can track your stress levels and sleep stages as well. The Samsung Galaxy Watch can automatically detect and track six different workouts. There are an additional 39 workouts to choose from when selecting an exercise you want to track, so the possibilities are endless.

How to choose

Since there isn't a drastic price difference between these two watches, your decision will probably come down to features and design preferences. If you like the idea of a rotating bezel for easy navigation along with the option of LTE connectivity, you should consider the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Keep in mind the price tag will go up a bit if you opt for the larger 46mm model. This model will also give you an extra day of battery life.

If LTE isn't an essential feature in your eyes and you're not bothered by daily charging, the Galaxy Watch might lose its allure. Perhaps you're more interested in a fashionable design and having ultra-smooth performance from your smartwatch. If so, you'll find yourself a fan of the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle.

Either way you go, both are phenomenal options with a lot to offer. However, since the Galaxy Watch is a bit cheaper and has more features and better battery, it's probably the best option for most people.

Courtney Lynch

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.